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May 18, 2020

As our Central Oregon counties start the phased approach to reopening, I can’t help but think back to the first messages I sent you in the early days of the pandemic. The advice today is much the same as it was then – stay home if you are sick, cover your cough or sneeze and wash your hands.

It feels a little like we’ve come full circle after having been through so much.

At St. Charles, our caregivers have shared a mix of emotions with me about their thoughts on reopening. Some feel the time is right, that you have helped flatten the curve and that we can handle whatever comes next.

Still others are worried. They have noticed people not wearing masks in public places and not staying six feet away from others. For many of our frontline health care workers, this behavior is deeply concerning.

Today, I have a request: For your safety and ours, I ask that you follow the guidelines from our local health departments and the Oregon Health Authority.

You have the power to ensure our reopening does not result in a spike of COVID-19 cases. You can choose to take care of yourself and others by making a few small sacrifices:

  • Wear a mask or cloth face covering when in public
  • Stay home if you are sick and report your symptoms to your primary care provider
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds
  • Practice physical distancing of at least six feet from people
  • Be a model of this kind of behavior and encourage others to do the same

Thank you for continuing to support all of our essential workers – and the safe reopening of our local businesses – through your actions.

While we continue to see a number of positive COVID-19 test results in Deschutes and Jefferson Counties, as of this writing we have only one COVID-19 patient in our Bend hospital, which is great news.

As we work to bring our own operations back toward normal levels, it feels like the time is right to scale back these communications as well. We want the information shared to be meaningful and useful, so I will plan to send updates less frequently unless the situation changes.

I’d like to thank you all for reading, for responding with your questions and for your notes of gratitude and support throughout this journey. Your messages have helped me make it through the most difficult days. You have shown me time and again that we are all in this together.

Thank you,  

Joe